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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
• • • • •
What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
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I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed. In fact. and stresses of everyday life. Who Am I? 2. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. Exploring Your Talents First of all. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. Once unmasked. is a journey. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. that is finding career direction. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. and using. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. defenses. What Do I Want to Do? 3. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. growth. development. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . How Do I Get Hired? 1. and reinvention. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change.firstly asking you to explore your talents.
7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". While no personality type is good or bad. Influence. Personality Inventories Next.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . however considering the importance of what you're doing. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. and as you identify possible careers. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. That said. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. and avoid the things that . Rank these in order. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. DISC (Dominance. One trick is to turn things around.
The activities you get most satisfaction from. and you'll probably underachieve. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. After all. your beliefs.after all. or to prefer one thing to another. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. and this gives you little information. 2. Tip: When you're doing this. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are.8 frustrate and demotivate you. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. many different people could perform well in these situations. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. . Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. and where others didn't. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. You choose to react one way over another. The talents you achieve most with. In psychological terms. and your way of seeing the world. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure.
assessment. they can't recommend new careers.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up.com http://www.9 i. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue.. ii. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company.self-directed-search. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. Once you've done this. and can only cope with the major career types. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way.. a radical career change may be the best thing. . who may be much younger than you. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open.com iii. On the other hand.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better. Because of this. nor do they know about less well-known careers. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. extend out and brainstorm the other options available. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. Useful ones are: Free. industry and profession. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. Using the test results as a starting point.
Visiting company websites. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. • • • • • • • • • . rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. Career research is not something many people relish. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. and perhaps to move. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. v. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. Also. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. job availability. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. Yes.org. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. Understanding where organizations are based. job pay levels. who the major players in it are. Volunteering. qualifications needed. We're not asking you to choose one now.10 iv. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. so that you can understand industry trends. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. if you're having trouble prioritizing. Pulling This Together. Participating in job fairs. and what the issues and problems within it are. this is quite tedious. Attending professional and trade shows. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. etc.
Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. 3. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. a job that sounds really glamorous. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. or a whole host of other distractions. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. the better the job . Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. now you need to actually map your progress. • These are your short term goals. faster. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. in order to get there. you may have rejected several possible careers. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer.
Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. You are feeling unappreciated. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. if you’re a science person. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. You know when you are in a job you like. The effort however. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. Learning is replaced with routine. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. Likewise. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. You are suffering from stress or depression. You are no longer having fun. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. whatever the industry or the job title.12 that you'll be able to choose. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. the career that you are meant for will materialize. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. For example. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. artistic people would be .
Value scientific endeavors. or which demands a lot of number crunching. practical. and genuine. curious. Avoid activities that seem mundane. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. 2. materialistic.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. intellectual. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. and status. and reserved. Common traits: • Hard-headed. precise. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. power. inflexible. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. but may not be good with people. In a perfect world. Value concrete and tangible things like . pessimistic. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. and machines. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. . Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. or enjoy working with objects. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. tools.money. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. Common traits: • Analytical. Avoid "social" activities. commercial or "enterprising". but often lack leadership skills. those that need interaction with other people. persistent.
Common traits: • Idealistic. Value social activities. training. and cooperative. Value aesthetics. but may lack scientific ability. emphatic. tactful. filing. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. sensitive. persuasive. optimistic. Value political and economic achievement. introspective. record keeping. and organizing written or numerical data. sociable. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. and exhibitionistic. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. reproducing materials. great leaders and speakers. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. 5. Common traits: • Generous. Conventional people . impractical and nonconformist. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations.14 3. ambitious. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. adventurous. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. Conventional (C): 6. patient. complicated . Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. 4. understanding and able to teach others. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. developing. popular. curing and enlightening others. and enjoy using materials to create art. Common traits: • Extroverted.
a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. Value business and economic achievement. Common traits: • Efficient. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. inflexible. defensive. practical. For example. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. ESA). Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. conscientious. . The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. data. things. This gives their Holland's code (for example. and methodical. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. and ideas. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices.
if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. These are more Artistic responsibilities. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. and so on. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. family. One strategy to deal with this is to . However. not who we really are.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. use our complete process. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. ask yourself. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. one costs US$9. To find your ideal career according to this approach. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. "How would my spouse. There are many of these. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. Here again. just complete steps i and ii below. To shape your job. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. entertainment. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. (If so. For instance. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together.
as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. and do well. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. Likewise. and set realistic goals to change things. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. time limited goal. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. If you're thinking about your career. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. In particular. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. and set the goals that will lead you there. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. look at our Life Plan Workbook. . Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these.
How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". Her successor. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. In short. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. 3. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. improving both satisfaction and performance. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. at least to some extent. did a great job. they've both been really good performers. though. has a particular flair for graphic design. Decide what you want to change. Practically any job can be crafted. Rebecca. 4. follow these steps: 1. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. Overall. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. so that you can generate better results. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. however. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. So. using skills that you already have. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. you can play to your strengths. By subtly redesigning your job like this. 2. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. Stephen. Check on progress. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. Act to put positive change in place. and you can start whenever you want. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. adjust and continue. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. (If you're not sure what your strengths are.18 The previous post-holder. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder.) . or using your knowledge to change working methods.
you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. more effective workforce. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. Here. and the organization as a whole. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. your colleagues. In our example. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. but the overall impact may well be negative. For example. you should take into account your clients.19 • Relationships: Here. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. For example. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. go back to Step 1. For more on this. or a boost to your own self-esteem. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. If this isn't the case. your supervisor or manager. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. or more interaction with people from other departments. For example. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things.
the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". and you feel good about what's happening. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. you can let your changes become a habit. within your recrafted job. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. In job crafting. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. if you have any managerial responsibilities. as mentioned in Step 2. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. and you decide to make the necessary changes. nothing will come of it. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. After all. in itself. . The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. And of course. lead to career enhancement opportunities. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. 2 and 3 above. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. managerial input or approval before you start. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. But don't wait for. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. If everything checks out. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. By refocusing your job in this way. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you.20 Also. When you have a number of other people to supervise. or expect. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. check that it gives you what you want.
and then. you may uncover some interesting ideas. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. so that it suits you better. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. in order to change aspects of your current job. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. having checked they're having a positive effect. and so find out what might also work for you. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. you put the changes into practice. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . you make sure they become a habit.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. you look for a win-win solution. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. increasing enjoyment.
) When you work for this kind of company. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. Get and remain tech-savvy. And remember. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. Develop cross-functional skills. Along with technical skills. If you're early in your career. Toyota and Mars. what you are doing now. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. Otherwise. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. Develop your competencies. it is critically important to continue your professional development. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. A broad range of competencies. or in addition to. . Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. specialization is no longer the route of choice. however. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. do it. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. If you're in a highly technical field of work. innovation. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. And yes. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. as your own circumstances change. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. Leadership. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. your kit may need to adapt as well. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. To maximize your chances of success. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. Monitor and track your progress. communication.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. It can pay off for some. skills and experience. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not.
Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. When you have a ready list of things you have done. however stay ahead of the crowd . When you add a mentor or two to your network. List the training you've completed. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. Employers want to know what you will do for them. Scan the environment. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Join professional networking associations. The more experience you get. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. projects and results. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. Build and maintain a professional network.23 "Think global. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry." In many industries. No one can accurately predict the future. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. • • • • • Track your duties. Your co-workers. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. Learning another language. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. Note your volunteer work. Create and maintain a success journal. • • • • Collect business cards. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. your profession and the industry you are in.
Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. you can take control of your future career . Keep a clear career path open. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. Develop realistic and achievable goals. and development may be blocked. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. this will not be the case. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. You need to become good at both to secure your future career.24 by keeping yourself informed.that have long-term sustainability. Back your hunches and analysis with action. To learn more about resiliency. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future.and for employers .or career-change. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. boredom and. With some forethought and planning. failure to achieve your potential. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. even if it means a job. you will eventually have to leave.if you're good at what you do. in the long term. Because the future is uncertain. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. This will lead to frustration. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. however. For many. Develop resilience. and choosing to work in industries . however hard you work. It is better to prepare now. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back.
Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. Sure. you've got some useful skills. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. You've always wanted to work in management. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. What can you do? Well. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. But you currently have no management experience. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. for many people.even if they are not directly related to your current job. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. you can show initiative. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. So.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . In this article.25 today. This is something you feel passionate about.
Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. As well as learning new skills. You can write a few articles in your spare time. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. The company might offer training seminars. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. You're a good writer. if you really want to make a career change. then applying for a related position. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. Well. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. Although you may not see immediate results. Eventually. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. or reimburse you for outside classes. in the long term. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. fundraising. depending on the new company or position. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. budgeting. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. The important thing is to see your name in print. . you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. If you can't identify opportunities within your company.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. These skills are highly valued in the business world. as a volunteer. then consider volunteering for community organizations. and the good impression you'll make. When it's time to apply for that management position. project management. Many nonprofits . and more. However. you won't get paid for it). Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. marketing. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. writing. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. and to build up your portfolio. And.
personnel development. you may have to use your vacation time. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago).27 However. accounting and finance. workshops might offer several different lectures. Instead of a traditional management class. With distance learning. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. Executive-level workshops. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. Skills like project management. Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. each exploring a different area of relationship building. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. marketing. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. in the evenings. . You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). or on weekends. and so on. if you want to become a medical doctor. you can often complete a qualification in less time . often use lectures from several different experts . If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. you attend class at the time and place of your choice . then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor.and at a much lower cost . Executive-level workshops can be expensive. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. And. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. For example. for example). you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. For example. which may have only one lecture on building relationships.on your lunch hour. however.than a traditional school.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. business management.
Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. – Viktor Frankl. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. If that's not practical. 4. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. Where possible. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. 3. This will strengthen your qualifications. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. Apply This to Your Life 1.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream.. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. to choose one's way. but prove to them that you really do care about the job.. If you're still not sure. Consider where your next career move will be. 2. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense.
excitement. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. You know. compassion. how can you become better at handling your emotions. as well as your productivity. But at work.. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. and department changes. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. feelings of joy. a boss who is too . but it's even more important for you to do so. After all. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. Anger/aggravation. As the above quote shows. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. Disappointment/unhappiness. or unable to move forward in some way. In your personal life. Dislike. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. no matter what the situation is. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. staff layoffs. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. you're always free to choose how you react to it. So.. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. and work well under pressure. After all. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. Worry/nervousness. if management is forced into making more layoffs. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project.
Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. • • . then don't go there and worry with everyone else. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. For instance. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. For more on this. just move on. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. But this worry can easily get out of control. you could use this time to relax a little. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. and look at the situation. and nothing else. When it's people who are causing your frustration. if your boss is late for your meeting. if you allow it. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. but also your productivity. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. then you have more time to prepare. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. and your willingness to take risks at work. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. Instead.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. Or. that probably won't help you keep your job. Whatever the reason. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. and this can impact not only your mental health. such as anger. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. and you sit there and worry. and that isn't good for anyone. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. Write it down. Focus on your breathing. and be specific. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. Do this at least five times.
For instance. But it's important to be professional. This interrupts your angry thoughts. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . imagine how you would look. When you're worried and nervous about something. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. If you start to get angry. Stopping your anger early is key. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. Before that time. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. it can dent your self-confidence. you can choose how you react in a situation. Also. so learn to recognize them when they begin. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. knowing that you'll deal with them. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. it gives you some perspective on the situation. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. Remember. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. you can forget about these worries. no matter what. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks.' and then schedule a time to deal with them.
these are the most likely to impact your productivity. and calmly leave the situation. but make a small change – for example. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. Remember. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. If they did. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. Remember. negative emotions can spread. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. set the example. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. delay the deadline. you always have the power to change your situation. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. Keep the goal. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. . ups and downs.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. that doesn't mean you should as well. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. as you would treat anyone else. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. your energy will probably be low. After all. you might be afraid to take another risk. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional.
If you're busy working away.and that may move you forward too. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day. that you've been in the same position for three years while others .it means doing more of the RIGHT things. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. When those emotions begin to appear. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. remember .seemingly lessdeserving people . why should I promote you? Clearly. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. Why is it. then. and which types of feelings you face most often. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. your value to the company is your efficiency. The longer you wait. Think about it. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be. and that you're ready to take on new ones. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced.in your pursuit of a promotion. If I promote you. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? .33 Know what causes your negative emotions. Organizations move forward by solving problems. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . You may even do your job exceptionally well. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. Now.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. But going beyond what's expected. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements.
Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. When you have questions for your boss. For example. gain experience in other areas of the company.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. Get up-to-date. managers are given responsibility for something. Think about cost versus benefit. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education.34 You may even want to make lateral moves .to similar positions in different departments . Then. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. For example. To gain access to them. This involves working well as part of a team. If your exposure is broader. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. review bottom-line results. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. come prepared with solutions as well. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. and stay current in your field.it's a win-win! . you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. and make a plan to acquire those skills. You'll expand your range of experience. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. and you'll make your boss's job easier . find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. look for opportunities to lead projects. to learn and practice other skills. and make sure you acquire these. Expand your skill set. Also. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. perhaps by reading the industry press. while also demonstrating individual competence. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in.
is a great benefit. Set your goal. . Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . If you rely on someone else to make it happen. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. you'll probably end up disappointed. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. Find out what they did to get where they are. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals.it's often adding something of value as well.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. and who might champion your ideas. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss. the better. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. faster.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. Look for things that aren't being done at all. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. When you run into obstacles. Having someone to talk to. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. Put forward your ideas. even if you aren't sure of the response. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. Rather than accept things as they are. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. Evaluate your strengths. think how you can improve them . Look for a mentor within the organization. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. find ways to work around them. The more you learn from other people's experiences. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. How can you do something cheaper. always think about how to do things better.others in your company who may want the same position you want . and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. Take note of who your internal competition might be . and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. Understand the big picture.
Understand what drives your company's success. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. are not guarantees of advancement. Simply doing what's expected of you. and then proactively work to achieve it. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. and even being the best at what you do. you can create the path to the position that you want. As you execute your promotion plan. Network with people in the company.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. and communicate your promotion goals to others. take on more of the right responsibilities. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. Get the Recognition You Deserve . Let people know what you want. though. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. To prepare for promotion. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. Using your knowledge of the organization. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. By being proactive. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. increase your value to the organization. That won't guarantee a promotion. If you aren't ready yet. expand your skill set.
you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. there is a way to do this. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. you might forget something important that you've done. and you don't point it out to him or her. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. Why? Firstly. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. you would. So. That includes you. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. people often just want simple praise. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. . or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. so decide what type you want.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. but also share credit where credit is due. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. certificates. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. it would seem odd. never miss deadlines. because everyone wants something different. Believe it or not. However. or bonuses. There are many types of recognition. Be sure to make yourself look good. if you're a bit nervous. Beside each one. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. hard check doesn't always communicate that. You'd think that by doing all of this. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. Unfortunately.and to top it all off. or a cold. you wish. Then. at least once in a while. and as a result. and never show up late . list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work.
then say it. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. For example. If you tell your boss directly. For example. You can also praise others in front of your boss. As you talk. If so. If this feels a little too much like bragging. Keep it genuine and honest. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. then people may notice. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. You know your boss and your business environment. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. then do it carefully and tactfully . then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. In your work environment. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. Yes. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. not-too-obvious way. however. and you don't even realize it.in a private area. If you have something good to say. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. • . and you may look bad.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. If you appear insincere. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions .he or she may be praising you. Keep the focus off yourself. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. Before you get upset. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing.
keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition. and send copies to your boss. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. send them emails praising their efforts.or even one job . When you recognize the efforts of your team.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable .in their lives. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better. and they're not working for the government. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . This can show your boss that you're leading by example. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. If so. If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. If you're a team leader. If you notice co-workers doing something great. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. they're likely to be older than 50. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. your boss has to know what you've already done.and to do that. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others. sending emails about small accomplishments." send that person an email and copy it to your boss.
think "outside the box. willingness to adapt to change. • • . If you're a good worker with marketable skills. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. outsourcing. It can be an adventure. Your home life. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress.the "fear" of losing your job . how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. downsizing. because you'll know you've done all you can. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. develop your nontechnical skills as well. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. As a result of globalization. contracting. recession and even natural disaster. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. These days. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. never making the break to search for something better. Here. another one opens.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. the world is much different.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. and keeping stress away. Next. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. but you can control how you look at it. In today's job market. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. be prepared. the technical skills you need can change quickly. So. So. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. For more information. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off." What else can you do . and leadership). They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. and your people skills. however. your organizational skills (time management. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . and the chance to do something new. team management.40 pension. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. and use this site to build solid career skills.
and it's within your power to change it. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed.no matter what job you're doing. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. allow everyone to voice their fears. Remember. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. if you don't tell her. or what you're capable of doing. you ALWAYS have control. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. Look for lateral transfers within your company. have an open discussion. . so that you know what's going on in your field. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). and office organization can help you anywhere . By talking about your accomplishments. you keep him or her informed of your value. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. Start learning about other departments. Also. Take outside classes and read trade publications. but don't let these fears dominate the group. Skills like effective time management. and you were forced to eliminate one position. So. make sure you give value to your company. Help another team member who's falling behind.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. Be PROactive instead of REactive. to a different department or even a different branch. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company." then take control and act. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. It's your life. leadership techniques. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. This can create negativity and hurt morale.
Remember.the job. your life is what you make of it! . You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . exciting path. Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. If you do get laid off. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. Focus on the positive. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. even if it's not the right match. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. if you are laid off. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. Key Points In today's business world.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. not on doubt and uncertainty.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job.or losing . Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon). When your résumé is current. living with job insecurity is a reality for many. if work dries up in your area. And save some money. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. and put yourself onto a new. If you wait until the last minute. remember that the world is full of opportunities. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation.
Sure. it finally happened. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. Denial. • Stage One: Denial . or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. but then skip directly to acceptance. You might skip a stage. Let's look at the stages in more detail. 3. Acceptance. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. the more you know. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. Bargaining 4. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. simply because more stress is involved. Anger. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. Depression 5. Also. After all. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. and think about what you can do to cope with each one. or in the same time frame. These are: 1. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. 2. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience.
. use anger management techniques. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. To cope with denial. or even a counselor. In Kübler-Ross's original model. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. This can be one of the most difficult stages. or the economy in general. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. and make you feel worse. your boss. this is likely to be more practical. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. or seek counseling. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. your company. and that you have to live with them. After all. and even unjust or wrong things do happen.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. Hurting the people you love will push them away. To cope. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. if you've worked hard and "given your all". especially for the people around you. Talk with family and friends. then you're in Stage One.
seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. or reduced benefits. forgive yourself. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. You're grieving for your lost job. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. be aware of what you're doing. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. Bargaining is almost always futile. To cope with this stage." But. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. your job right now is to find another job. Remember. "Whenever one door closes. as someone else also said. or train any new hires that come through the door. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. You might offer to work part-time. Put your energy into moving forward. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. you might slip into a state of depression. if it was your fault. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. and move on. Helping others can be very healing. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. You can call it fate or destiny." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. Or. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage.45 For instance. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. learn from the experience. another one opens somewhere. .
Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. Again. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. Give yourself time to work through each stage. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. It was very hard. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. and keep moving forward. bargaining. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. you might skip some stages. you've learned from it. for them to reach . despite your best effort." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . or if it was your fault. incredible. anger. Traditionally. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. if not impossible.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. do something productive. Talk about your emotions. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. depression and acceptance. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. then seek help so you can move forward. and you're stronger because of it. You're a talented. or go through all five: everyone is different.yet.
Today. No matter how qualified or experienced. here are some steps to take. . However. indeed. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role." However. the glass ceiling is still very real. And it's not always limited to gender or race. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart.47 upper management positions. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. risk takers. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. want to break through that glass. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. If you do. you have a choice. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing.
This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. Each of these is complex. set goals to get there. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . and attributes. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. because it probably won't be handed to you. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. For example. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. then monitor and measure your performance. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. Communication skills will help you. no matter what job title you have. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. Start with the introduction to communication skills. If you achieve that goal. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. Be proactive and go after what you want. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. skills. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve.48 To further clarify these ideas.
A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. Get involved with cross-functional teams. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. to be effective and actually make it to the top. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. Past practices. Read more about Professional Networking. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. However. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. biases and stereotypes. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company.49 provide you with valuable information. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations.
watch for discriminatory behavior. while you can see up. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. You want people to see your competence. To do this. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. communication skills. Visibility is very important. leadership abilities. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. and develop plans to change them. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. those at the top can see down. you need to champion and market yourself. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination.50 and ideas on how to find one. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. Know that you're doing everything right. technical knowledge. That means proactively managing every . Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. Don't just accept frustration and failure. Speak up and contribute in meetings. Remember.
Ask for support and assistance . a strong network. but most people don't succeed all on their own. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. not weakness. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. and you may find new zones of opportunity. and potentially change the direction of your .51 step of your career. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. and monitor your progress. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. a mentor. or anyone in your organization. and. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. hopefully. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You probably didn't plan for it. Apply some of the ideas in this article. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. like it or not. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling.this is a sign of strength. you might have to work harder than others. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. Yet. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. So. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. your old boss is leaving.
This can lead to three possibilities: 1. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. There's a proper balance that you can find. is nothing. so the boss may look to you for help. 2. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. in this case. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. and even a different management style. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). In this article. you're not facing reality. This person needs your help. In many ways. different policies. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. But you also need to know how and when to act. Things will likely be different. However. and prove yourself. a new boss will likely have different opinions. However. so expect to change the way you work. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. but doesn't. you are also new to your new boss. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. as well as which problems to avoid. So. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. and you have to be supportive. but doesn't know . Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant.
However. On the other hand. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). Your new boss knows what you do." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. because she did your job before you got there. yourself). But your new boss may have a more general management background. (If you were competing for the job. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. and sufficiently. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. Your goal is to educate tactfully. 3. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. perhaps. but don't appear too eager. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. If you do either of these. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. . so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. Even if your new boss knows what you do. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. Offer your help. considerately. Tip: Be helpful. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. and you have to work with this new person. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you.53 it. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it.
but we've summarized some of the information here. Use common sense. individual preferences.. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. For example. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice. but at least you'll know. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . and mutual availability as your guiding factors.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them.. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • . and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. but also figuring out who the key players are. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. Now What? covers this in detail. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. this will help you relate to his or her expectations.
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